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EU proposes a ‘Right to Repair’

Consumer package looks to tackle throwaway society, especially for electronics. MEP for Ireland South Grace O’Sullivan welcomes the package.

The European Commission presented its Consumer package today, 22 March. The package includes two proposals for sustainable consumption: the Right to Repair is to be enshrined in law. Green MEP for Ireland South Grace O’Sullivan welcomed the proposal for a right to repair, with European Green MEPs pledging to push for cheap, easy and sustainable repair availability in the upcoming negotiations on the Right to Repair. The proposal for a Right to Repair Directive was already planned for July 2022 and has been postponed several times. Also included in the Consumer package is a proposal for a Green Claims Directive on the claimed environmental performance of products and services. It is intended to ensure that companies provide reliable and scientifically robust information about the environmental friendliness of their products and services.

Grace O’Sullivan MEP, who is one of the lead negotiators on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation reform, today welcomed the proposal from Brussels:

“It wasn’t long ago we lived in a much more sustainable manner when cars, devices and appliances were all fixable either at home or in the shop. Manufacturers have increasingly pushed for more disposable and less repairable productions so they can keep selling new products, instead of repairing and guaranteeing existing ones. The right to repair and the circular economy are inseparable, and this will go hand in hand with our efforts to cut waste, emissions and bring the idea of ‘reuse’ back into our homes and daily lives just like before. 

We are now calling for a repair labelling index with clear information on service life and repair possibilities. Spare parts and instructions must also be easily accessible and affordable to independent repairers and citizens so that corporate giants like Apple no longer dictate the rules for repair.”

The Right to Repair proposal will ensure that more products are repaired within the legal guarantee, and that consumers have easier and cheaper options to repair products that are technically repairable (such as vacuum cleaners, or soon, tablets and smartphones) when the legal guarantee has expired or when the good is not functional anymore as a result of wear and tear. The proposal will now have to go before the other EU institutions for negotiations before coming into force.

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